Food: Half the Experience

Food: Half the Experience

Have you begun to create your own travel bucket lists during this downtime? Where to go first when you’re ready to travel?   Are you already packed?! When guests visit your B&B, do they have a favorite menu item? What is your palate saying to you?

People Travel to Eat

More than ever in the last decade or so, there’s a heightened focus on “travel for food” and B&Bs fit the bill as they often have gourmet, farm-to-table, trendy, comfortable, homestyle, regional, fantastic food experiences to offer their guests.  Many guests agree it’s “half the experience” and the number one reason they want to stay at a B&B. Most recently, with the effects of this pandemic, the intimate stay is at the top of many bucket lists as well as surveys including one completed by Destination Analysts this past May. So, when you get back to traveling, will you choose your destination based on cuisine?

Sustainable Dining Experience

Whether B&Bs serve from their own gardens, local growers, farmer’s markets, local seafood markets, local cheese purveyors, the experience guests will enjoy includes the freshest ingredients and culinary excellence.  Thus, B&Bs often raise the bar and aim to please with their culinary regional offerings.

Maybe you can locate a local B&B in your area for a staycation, and see what your local farmers and the culinary arts team of the B&B can create! Check out the menus listed on the websites of the Top Culinary Inns & Resorts below.

Perfect Start to the Day

Heart-and-belly warming breakfast starts the day off just right!  How about a delicious egg dish with layers of flavor sourced from the inn’s organic garden?  Maybe you have envy for crab benedict from crabmeat sourced from a local fisherman during blue crab peak season.  Maine’s wild blueberries will get anyone in their car to travel for a stack of wild blueberry buttermilk pancakes.

South Carolina’s Anson Mills grits topped with St. Helena heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs and don’t forget the shrimp from the local southern waters!  What about Georgia’s peaches folded into biscuit dough and served warm topped with heavy whipped cream?

It kind of sounds like an endless summer vacation. Does your B&B dive into the culinary history of your community? Often, B&Bs will alternate their breakfast menus with a savory dish one morning, and sweet the next, but always offering a traditional option as well.

Culinary Vacations

B&B Culinary Experiences can be enjoyed by everyone whether you’re a kitchen novice or consider yourself an expert foodie.  Take a hands-on cooking class and learn regional cuisine. Study the menus of your local restaurants or perhaps engage them to come to your property!  Inns often bring in top-notch chefs for culinary weekends. So, whether you’re a guest at a B&B inn or the innkeeper, seek the opportunities to indulge in culinary arts!

You’ll participate in creating a regional dish and afterward, dine on your fresh cooked meal and if it’s dinner, the meal may be paired with a fabulous wine from a local vineyard.  What an experience and great memory to take home!

 Saluda-Fine-Dining-Restaurant-at-the-Orchard-Inn-1499x609

Fine Dining at The Orchard Inn – Saluda, NC

Top Culinary Inns & Resorts by Region

Northeast

West

Central

South

Abingdon Manor Inn, Latta SCAbingdon Manor Inn, Latta SC

 Visit www.culinarygetaways.com for more culinary-focused inns.

Speaking of Anson Grits

Grits…mmmm. Since you may be waiting to travel, and your mouth is watering for something savory…let me indulge you! As a former inn owner of 15 years in historic Savannah, Georgia, our guests were served this delectable dish as a breakfast entrée, and more often than not, there wasn’t even a “grit” left on the plate.  Guests often called in advance to make sure that would be on the menu during their summer stay at the inn. We loved fulfilling their palate with the warm comfort of this classic Southern favorite.

At the inn, we found Anson Mills coarse grits truly ‘preserved the nutrition and flavor of the heirloom corn’ as the company ensures. They are produced from field ripened Carolina Gourdseed White or John Haulk Yellow dent mill corns.  From Savannah, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina there are many variations of the famous southern dish “shrimp ‘n grits.” Where have you tasted your favorite Shrimp ‘n Grits?

Finally, all this talk of food is a good reason to get in the kitchen at home if you can’t travel right now. We can’t leave you without a recipe to add to your wonderful summer cuisine collection of recipes. Enjoy!

Recipe for Shrimp ‘n Grits

adapted from Anson Mills

Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 pound shell-on shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 small rib celery finely diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves sliced
  • 4 cups of spring or filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 1 strip lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces thick-cut bacon or real country ham minced (3 tablespoons)
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (1/4 cup)
  • Fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 recipe hot, freshly Course Grits such as Anson Mills
  • 1 scallion, white and green part, thinly sliced

 

Recipe Directions

  1. Peel and if desired, devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Dry the shrimp between layers of paper towels and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells, onion, celery, and garlic and sauté until shells are crisp and the vegetables have softened for about 10 minutes. Add water, tomato paste, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, and lemon peel. Cover and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until the stock is flavored and reduced, about 1 hour. Pour stock through a fine-mesh strainer set over a small saucepan (you should have about 1 ½ cups of strained stock), cover the saucepan, and keep hot over low heat while you cook the shrimp.
  3. While the stock is simmering, in a small bowl, mash butter and flour to a smooth paste and set aside.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet, sauté the bacon or ham over medium-low heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Move it to the periphery of the skillet and increase the heat to medium. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer and sear until pink, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the shallots over the shrimp, toss to combine, and continue to cook just until the shrimp turn opaque for about 1 minute. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and toss well. Using tongs, transfer shrimp to a warm plate. Add hot shrimp to skillet, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.
  5. Whisk in the butter-flour mixture, return to a boil and cook until the sauce is thickened for about 20 seconds.
  6. Return the shrimp to skillet and stir to coat them with sauce. Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt if desired.
  7. To serve, spoon the hot grits into shallow bowls. Top with the shrimp and sauce, dividing evenly, and sprinkle with sliced scallion.

Serve immediately & enjoy!